Have you ever thought about getting home after a tiring day at work and finding a fresh dinner, prepared by a robot? It seems like something that only exists in the classic design of Jetsons, but engineers at Columbia University, USA, developed a technique that uses lasers to cook and 3D printing to assemble the food, everything autonomously.
The self-employed digital chef is able to prepare, customize the shape, build textures and diversify the flavor using multiple ingredients at the same time. After the food is printed, researchers use lasers to cook it, ensuring that, in addition to the taste, the food also has an appetizing appearance.
“We have observed that while printers can produce ingredients with pinpoint accuracy, they cannot there is a heating method with the same degree of resolution as the laser. Cooking is essential for nutrition, flavor and texture in many foods, and we can now precisely control these attributes,” says mechanical engineer Jonathan Blutinger, lead author of the study.
Want to catch up on the best tech news of the day? Join and subscribe to our new channel on youtube, Canaltech News. Every day a summary of the main news from the tech world for you!
To the point
To To reach the ideal cooking point, the scientists used lasers with various wavelengths during the experiment. They printed a 3 mm thick chicken sample and exposed the food to a blue light (445 nm) and an infrared light ( 445 nm and 10, 6 µm).
The researchers evaluated various parameters such as cooking depth, color, moisture retention and the differences in flavor between laser-cooked meat and that prepared on a conventional stove. After several attempts, they realized that laser-cooked chicken shrinks 50% less, retains twice as much moisture and has a taste similar to fire-grilled meat.
“In fact, our two volunteers who participated in the blind test preferred the laser-cooked meat over the conventionally prepared samples, which reveals a significant promise for this food printing and cooking technology,” adds Professor Blutinger.
According to the Columbia University team, the idea of having a printer capable of assembling and cooking food away from the laboratories still faces the lack of a sustainable ecosystem to support this new technology and make it is commercially viable and more accessible for everyone.
“What we don’t have yet is what we call ‘Food CAD’, a kind of Photoshop from food. We need high-level software that allows people who are not programmers or software developers to create the foods they want quickly and intuitively”, ponders Blutinger.
In the future, they envision people being able to share digital recipes the same way they share music, using an app to interact and personalize meals. Perhaps this is the solution for those who are always struggling with the stove or prefer to outsource their dinner preparation to their own digital chef.
Source: Columbia University
Did you like this article?
Subscribe your email on Canaltech to receive daily updates with the latest news from the world of technology.